Monday, September 9, 2013

Canoe Fishing -- Dawn Glow Pond

It was late September 1987, and I had seven days of vacation to use or lose.   The previous year I spent a week in Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area, and I was searching for another canoe fishing adventure.  I hadn't seen much of British Columbia, so I decided to target Kamloops as the jump-off point for my adventure.

I drove from Los Angeles to Seattle -- stopping about 3 hours at a rest stop to sleep -- then after a couple of hours sight-seeing in Seattle I got a room and asked for an early wakeup call.  In the morning I pushed on for Vancouver where I spent a few hours poking around quaint stores in the antique district, but the pull of adventure was strong, so I headed for Kamloops in the late afternoon.

The drive along the Fraser River is memorable because of the sheer beauty of the area.  I was surprised as I approached Kamloops because the sagebrush country was not at all what I had expected.  In my mind everything north of the border -- in Canada -- should have been forest.  I checked into a motel in Kamloops, and inquired about fishing opportunities in the area.  The desk clerk, who seemed knowledgeable, told me his favorite fishing spot was a chain of lakes around Lac Le Jeune approximately 37 kilometers south of Kamloops.

I asked where I could buy a fishing license, and requested a 5 a.m. wakeup call.

In the morning, after a quick continental breakfast, I was on the road.  It was still early, about 6:30 a.m., when I was approaching Lac Le Jeune.  As I drove past a marshy meadow I was treated to a rare glimpse of a solitary gray wolf and a pair of moose.

I found a place at Lac Le Jeune to launch my little Old Town Pack Canoe about 7 a.m..  The day was overcast with dark gray clouds, and the wind was already blowing pretty hard, so I decided to paddle into the wind knowing it would easier to rudder my way back to the put-in if it got much worse.  I hadn't paddled 300 yards when the wind stiffened, and white caps began to form.  I know my limits, and being alone, I turned around an paddled back to the parking lot.

Before I got back to shore it started to rain, and by the time I had my canoe tied on top of my camper shell, I was drenched.

On the way to Lac Le Jeune I noticed the map showed several more lakes in the chain, so I decided to drive to the end of the chain to do a little sight-seeing.  It was raining steadily when the temperature dropped, and the rain turned to sleet.  It didn't take long to reach the end of the road at Walloper Lake, so I turned around and decided to head for home.  By this time the sleet had turned to snow flurries, and I was beginning to get concerned about not having chains.  I drove a couple miles when suddenly the snow and wind stopped, and the sun broke through.

I looked to my right and saw the most beautiful sight a canoeist can see -- a small pond with water as smooth as glass on a mirror.  I pulled off the road, quickly untied my canoe, grabbed my rod and reel and literally ran to the shore.  Dawn Glow Pond, it was named, and it was a slice of heaven.  It was completely ringed with a stand of spruce and fir trees.  As I carried the canoe to the water I paused to examine several dozen moose tracks leading in all directions, and I recalled the lone wolf I had seen earlier in the day.

I slipped the canoe in the water cast a Rapala lure behind, and slowly began to paddle toward the center of the pond.  I hadn't been there five minutes when a beautiful 18" Kamloops trout sacrificed himself the my rod.  I've learned from many years experience that when you catch a nice fish, always turn around and paddle over the same area again.  Wham!  A second big Kamloops trout was on my line.  As I put him on my stringer a fresh wind burst out of the north, and the water on the little pond whipped into whitecaps.

With two gorgeous fish on my stringer I had no complaints, so I paddled to shore.  I filleted my fish, put them in the cooler, and loaded the canoe on my pickup.  It was a completely successful fishing trip all within a half hour's time.

Driving back down to Vancouver I was caught in a traffic backup because of a train accident.  A Mounty drove past and told me I'd have at least an hour to wait, so I dropped the tail gate on my pickup, fired up my camp stove, and enjoyed a tasty trout dinner while gazing at the lovely British Columbia countryside.

I'll probably never get back to Dawn Glow Pond, but it will always have a special place in my memory of fishing trips.

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